Acceptance Is the Evil
- 1 Post
I grew up in a household where hitting or traumatizing a child as a way to discipline them was never an option. From a very young age, if something was wrong, my parents sat me down and spoke to me. They firmly believed that just because they were larger and physically more powerful than I was, and just because they created me, this did not mean that they had the right to treat me without any respect. This is probably the reason why I thought violence against children - be it physical or emotional - was wrong, from a very young age.
This, however, was not the case with many of my friends. Their parents use to stick to the popular proverb: “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. Being beaten by a parent, or being psychologically abused was a daily occurrence for them, and for a few it still is. It is considered ‘NORMAL’, and that according to me is the worst part of it all. Even though most of them did not and still don’t like the situation, they really have no other choice as all their primary expenses are paid by their parents they can’t really disregard them. Moving out at such a young age is also not an option here in India.
According to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “All forms of violence against children, however light, are unacceptable. […] Frequency, the severity of harm and intent to harm are not prerequisites for the definitions of violence.”
Most of us and most of our parents grew up with this violent discipline as standard and common. Most parents never think about the trauma or stress a child must go through as a result of it, probably because they’ve been through it all and survived. But this is certainly not the case with everyone. In 2012, 9500 children and adolescents were killed in India, representing 10 per cent of all children globally, and making India the third largest contributor to child homicide after Nigeria and Brazil (WHO 2014, Global Health Estimates).
Each of us is different and our psychology is varied and diverse. The amount of stress and pressure one can take differs individually. In the recent times, children have been reported to being more stressed than ever. In 2015, about 3 million teens ages 12 to 17 had had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Intimidation from parents, relatives, teachers and friends to perform better in academics and achieve higher marks to get into premier institutes for posh jobs, have led children to be subjected to massive pressure or tension.
That does not mean we allow the child to do anything and everything and not say anything. Times are changing and many non-profit organisations are helping children and their parents to understand children’s rights. Many helplines for children who are being abused also exist, but what is missing is the awareness. Acceptance of violence and the stigma associated with disclosing violence is a massive problem in this country. We, as a society, should also work towards making parents and legal guardians aware of alternative ways to discipline their children. It is time we make the world realise that sparing the rod doesn’t essentially spoil the child.